Spain today made a shock early exit from the World Cup after a disappointing 0-2 loss against Chile to become only the fourth defending champions to crash out of the tournament at the first stage here today.
Spain needed either a win or at least a draw to remain afloat in the tournament but failed to do so. They now join Brazil (1966), France (2002) and Italy (2010) in the dubious club of defending champions bowing out of the World Cup in the first round. They now join Australia, who lost to the Netherlands 2-3 in an earlier Group B match of the day, as the first teams to bow out of the tournament.
The Iberian country also earned the dubious distinction of making the earliest exit from a World Cup by a defending champion in history. No defending champions have ever been eliminated after only two games of the first phase.
Eduardo Vargas put Chile in the lead in the 20th minute before Charles Aranguiz made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute to send Spain packing in front of the packed crowd at the iconic Maracana Stadium. Chile thus avenged their 1-2 loss to the same opponents in their group match in the 2010 World Cup.
In the last World Cup, Spain did lose their opening match but eventually bounced back to go on winning the title. But this time, it was not destined to be like that and their 1-5 humiliation by the Netherlands, their worst defeat since the 1-6 loss to Brazil in 1950 World Cup, was followed by defeat at the hands of Chile today. It turned out to be the worst night for Spain as they did not have any answer to the aggressive and attacking football of Chile in the initial 45 minutes and then played a chasing game in the second half to be outclassed by their opponents in the end.
The talk of the end of an era was imminent as Spain, the exponents of the famous 'tika, taka' style of football and two time European Championship winners (2008 and 2012) besides the 2010 World Cup crown, exited from Brazil 2014 without any impact and scoring just one goal in two games.
By virtue of the win, Chile made it to the round of 16 along with the Netherlands. Spain's final group match against Australia on June 23 at Curitiba has now been rendered inconsequential. The winner of the group will now be decided after the match between Chile and the Netherlands on June 23 in Sao Paulo.